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Sun Country sets four-hour limit for runway waits

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Sun Country Airlines said it will limit long waits for passengers on its planes, after more than 100 travelers bound for the Twin Cities were delayed Friday for nearly six hours.

In a statement, the Mendota Heights-based airline said it will implement a new policy that will limit runway taxi time to four hours. 

On Friday, a flight from New York's JFK airport to Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport was delayed for five hours and forty minutes with passengers on board.

"The flight delay on Friday was unacceptable from the customers' perspective as well as the airline," Stan Gadek, CEO of Sun Country Airlines, said in a statement. "By establishing a four hour deadline for a return to gate decision we are eliminating long taxi times due to ongoing delays for [air traffic control], weather and airport congestion."

The company said planes that have waited on the tarmac for more than four hours will return to the gate to let passengers off. 

The carrier said its new policy is modeled on legislation supported by DFL Sen. Amy Klobuchar that would limit such delays. 

Over the weekend, Klobuchar said she appreciates Sun Country's willingness to take responsibility.

"We are pleased to be the first airline to voluntarily implement a policy based upon key aspects of this legislation," Gadek said.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)